(b Madrid, 1843; d Craig‐y‐Nos Castle, nr. Brecon, Wales, 1919).
It. soprano. Daughter of singers. Taken to NY as child, touring USA as child prodigy for 3 years, accomp. by her brother‐in‐law Maurice Strakosch and the violinist Ole Bull. In 1857 toured with pianist Gottschalk. Studied singing with Strakosch. Opera début 1859 in Lucia di Lammermoor at Acad. of Mus., NY. London début CG 1861; Paris 1862; Vienna 1863. Rapidly recognized as leading sop. of day and Grisi's successor. V. had great range, flexibility, and purity of tone. Essentially a coloratura sop., but sang dramatic roles such as Leonora in Il trovatore and Violetta in La traviata. First London Aida (1876). In 25 consecutive CG seasons sang over 30 roles by Donizetti, Bellini, Rossini, Verdi, Meyerbeer, etc. Zerlina in Don Giovanni was her only Mozart role. La Scala début 1877; NY Met 1887. CG farewell 1895; sang last operas in Monte Carlo and Nice 1897. Toured N. and S. Amer. and the world's capitals. Highest‐paid singer of her day. Farewell concert, London 1906, followed by provincial tour. Retired to her castle in Wales but gave charity concert in 1914. Buried in Paris.